Awnings and Winter Storm Advice - Blazers and Sunnyhaven

Awnings and Winter Storm Advice by Bailey Caravans South Wales

Easter is a great time for the family to venture out in the caravan. The extra days off on Good Friday and Easter Monday mean you can enjoy a long weekend at a time when the weather is starting to get better in the UK. However, the early Easter in March 2016 coincided with the latest Winter storm and caused some concern for campers and those in caravans. Here is our advice on how to prepare your caravan for a Winter storm.

The tradition of giving storms and hurricanes a name dates back many years in the UK. It was thought that naming a storm would encourage people to track it’s progress and be more aware of it’s direction and strength.

As in the USA, the storms in the UK are given names in alphabetical order. So each year, the first storm of the Autumn / Winter season is given a name beginning with “A” (Abigail November 2015).

In previous years the names were randomly chosen, but in September 2015 “The Met Office” invited members of the public to name the storms. The chosen names were:

Date named Date of impact on UK and/or Ireland
Abigail 10 November 2015 12 – 13 November 2015
Barney 16 November 2015 17 – 18 November 2015
Clodagh (pronounced Clo-da) 28 November 2015 29 November 2015
Desmond 4 December 2015 5 – 6 December 2015
Eva 22 December 2015 24 December 2015
Frank 28 December 2015 29 – 30 December 2015
Gertrude 28 January 2016 29 January 2016
Henry 30 January 2016 1 – 2 February 2016
Imogen 7 February 2016 8 February 2016
Jake 1 March 2016 2 March 2016
Katie 25 March 2016 27 – 28 March 2016

UK Storm Katie 2016

Storm Katie hit the UK on the Southern coast around Dorset and East Devon and moved up the UK to Bristol and South Wales before moving over to the Home Counties and then North.

Causing devastation to caravan awnings and tents along it’s path, as well as blowing over trees with gusts of wind of up to 70 miles per hour.

The Met Office has announced a storm approaching your caravan site – what should you do?

Firstly, caravans manufactured in the UK by companies such as Bailey, Elddis, Swift, Buccaneer and Sprite are built with the British weather in mind. The new Elddis range are built with SoLiD Construction, a tried and tested chemical bonding process as used in advanced automotive manufacture, Formula 1, aircraft and marine construction. SoLiD construction eliminates water ingress and significantly increases structural rigidity – so you are almost as safe in the caravan as you are in a brick house.

Caravan Steadies – ensure that your steadies are down, but not over extended. By this we mean that the steady should have good contact with the ground, but not extended to near it’s full length. If the pitch is on a slope and the steadies need to be extended a good way, put wooden blocks, or even better a breeze block, underneath to give a wider spread of pressure on the floor and allow the steadies to be only half extended. The steadies should be wound down to a solid feel against the ground and then given 1 extra turn.

Caravan Awnings – if pitching for the weekend and a storm is coming it is probably advisable not to erect an awning for that weekend. Better safe than sorry.

If you are on a seasonal pitch with an awning already erected, or already have the awning erected there are a number of things you can do to minimise the risk of your awning being blown down.

Better quality awnings such as Isabella awnings and Bradcot awnings will stand up well to a storm if erected correctly. Normally these will have carbon fibre poles that are strong and yet bend with the wind, rather than snap or bend like steel poles.

Awnings Pegs – ensure that EVERY pegging point has a rubber ladder (which allows for movement) and the peg is in a rung of the ladder which is not the top or bottom rung, but any of the middle rungs. This way if one rubber rung gets snapped another rung in the ladder will hold. Lastly, hammer your pegs in at an angle, as children we were taught this in the Scouts, and it never failed us!

Awning Guide Ropes – as you walk around camp sites you will often see awnings fully pegged out, but rarely are ALL the guide ropes pegged out. Understandably, as it makes it a little more awkward to walk around the pitch with all guide ropes out and more than once you will have tripped on a dark Summers night on a guide rope. With a storm approaching it is advisable to ensure all guide ropes are fully utilised, as it reduces the amount of “flapping” and movement of the awning panels.

Awning Storm Straps – with every rung and guide rope pegged out, the last item to peg out is a storm strap. Some awnings allow for a storm strap inside the awning between the canvas and the poles. Most storm straps either connect to the end of the awning or going over the whole awning roof (on the outside) and are pegged each end. All types of straps will help hold the awning in a storm. A little tip is to put a couple of twists in the storm strap, between the awning and the ground (NOT on the canvas). This will reduce the buzzing noise the storm strap makes when it vibrates.

Additional Poles – if a real howler of a storm is approaching then a few extra poles in the awning can be a good idea. Best practice is to have an additional pole from a roof pole to the ground and then another from that additional pole to the next roof pole and so on. If you have a veranda pole this can also be used to brace two roof poles.

Caravan Advice in a Storm – Summary

When a storm strikes you are as safe in a caravan as anywhere else. After the storm, a beautiful day will emerge that can be enjoyed. Don’t let a storm put you of caravanning. If you take the precautions outlined above you, your caravan and awning will normally ride the storm. Lastly, remember that rain, wind or hail always sound worse when you are in a caravan. Even the lightest rainfall and wind can sound like a monsoon. We hope this advice proves valuable when “Storm Lawrence” hits the UK later this year.

For more information on Isabella awnings or Bradcot awnings please visit our awning page at  We also have a wide number of caravan accessories available.

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